Judicial review into Cork €6.5m Docklands road network scheme

Judicial review into Cork €6.5m Docklands road network scheme

The proposed Albert Quay under the Cork Docklands road improvement scheme. The scheme will seek to improve flows between the city centre, Docklands, and the N27.

A JUDICIAL review is to be carried out into a proposed €6.5m plan to transform the city Docklands road network in anticipation of future development of offices and homes.

The plans were recently granted planning permission by Cork City Council but an application to the High Court by the Save Cork City association has resulted in a judicial review of the ‘Cork Docklands to City Centre Road Network Improvement Scheme’.

Image of the proposed Victoria Road under the Cork Docklands road improvement scheme.
Image of the proposed Victoria Road under the Cork Docklands road improvement scheme.

The scheme will seek to improve flows between the city centre, Docklands, and the N27, through a raft of measures which will include works on Victoria Road, Albert Road, Centre Park Road, Monahan Road, and as far as City Hall.

It includes infrastructure plans to facilitate residential and commercial developments, a transport network to improve connectivity between the Docklands and the city centre, and a complete transformation of the public realm.

However, Save Cork City has said that the scheme also contains plans for flood defences that are already being considered within the context of the entire Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme.

Image of the proposed Albert Quay under the Cork Docklands road improvement scheme.
Image of the proposed Albert Quay under the Cork Docklands road improvement scheme.

As a result, the association said it was left with no option but to apply for Judicial Review of the scheme.

“It is regrettable that public servants have unnecessarily chosen to integrate flood defences that are already being considered within the context of the entire Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme,” said a spokesperson for Save Cork City.

“The decision to combine flood defence with public realm improvements and to again pursue the commencement of the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme has combined the many complex issues and has seriously delayed what should be a welcome and separate public realm design.”

The association claimed that its challenge to the decision was made after documentation received by Save Cork City “showed direct reference to the Morrisons Island Flood Defence Scheme and the Lower Lee Flood Relief Scheme” within the planning application.

Image of the proposed Marina Terrace under the Cork Docklands road improvement scheme.
Image of the proposed Marina Terrace under the Cork Docklands road improvement scheme.

Save Cork City said that the council acted with a “conflict of interest” within the process as it granted planning permission for its own development.

The group also said that the decision to proceed with parts of the Lower Lee scheme within the project is in breach of European Union environmental law including the Habitats Directive and the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive.

Save Cork City said its application for Judicial Review was lodged with deep regret, particularly as they have few observations on the public realm scheme proposed.

They claim they made their decision following careful consideration of the negative impact of the scheme on the environment and the future potential of the city of Cork.

Cork City Council has continually insisted the Docklands scheme is separate from both the Lower Lee Flood Protection Scheme and the Morrison’s Island Public Realm project.

City Hall director of roads and transportation Gerry O’Beirne recently rejected suggestions that the consultation process for the scheme was flawed or not inclusive.

He said there are multiple elements to the project and only one small aspect of flood mitigation within it.

He recently told councillors it would be “wholly irresponsible” to ignore the flood protection element when there was simple and appropriate flood mitigation available.

“This is largest docklands regeneration site in Europe,” he said. “The idea that council would adopt a scheme and not include a simple mitigation element is not advised.

“The council is obliged to have regard to flood risk. To not do so would be bizarre.”

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